InterCon PR boss cool in crisis
With her master of finance degree from the Sydney’s University of New South Wales and job in Australia’s financial sector, Cecilia Wong had never considered a career in hospitality. However, she knew she wasn’t doing what she wanted.
After returning to Hong Kong, she worked for an advertising firm before joining the InterContinental Grand Stanford Hong Kong hotel as its public relations manager. “It was amazing I was offered the job despite having no previous hotel experience,” she says.
Wong’s experience of working in Australia helps her thrive in the hotel’s multi-cultural working environment. “Many of my colleagues are from outside Hong Kong,” she says. “Having lived and worked in Australia allows me to understand how to effectively communicate with them.”
After moving to another hotel to become its PR director, Wong was rehired by the InterContinental to be its director of communications. Her main duty is to build the hotel’s image. “From promotional materials to hotel-sponsored events, I have to co-ordinate with various departments to ensure the smooth running of our campaigns,” she says.
A key part of her job is editing promotional materials. “I have to ensure all the information is correct and that the hotel’s logo is put in the right place. This requires great attention to detail. Sometimes departments will have different opinions on materials and I have to collect everyone’s comments and come up with a solution that makes everyone happy. This can be challenging as adjustments have to be made quickly and I often have to work to very tight deadlines,” she says.
Interacting with the media is another important duty. “I am in constant contact with the media to arrange coverage of the hotel. In crisis cases, I am also the hotel’s spokeswoman. One time, there was a small fire at the hotel and I had to explain to the media what the problem was and that no guests were affected,” she says.
Wong begins every morning with a 9am meeting with the general manager and other heads of departments to learn about the day’s events. She then holds a meeting with her staff to inform them of their tasks for the day.
“After the staff meeting, I get down to business with proofreading and meeting the media,” she says. “There are also a number of projects I need to follow, such as the launch of our website and charity events sponsored by the hotel. I try to answer all my e-mails before I leave work.”